Saint Francis and the Sow


This is a much-loved poem here among the Clergy Health Initiative staff, and was read by Robin Swift, our program director, at many of the Spirited Life Winter Workshops.  Robin shares:

I love this poem because of its rich imagery.  We all empathize more with the sow, I suspect, than with St. Francis.  Yet blessing is available to all of us, lovely or unlovely, and our ability to believe that and receive it can be transformative.

Saint Francis and the Sow
By Galway Kinnell  

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

  image via the creative commons
This entry was posted in Inspiration and tagged by Caren Swanson. Bookmark the permalink.

About Caren Swanson

Caren is a former Wellness Advocate with Spirited Life who hails from a small town in the hills of NH, but currently lives in Durham, NC with her family. She enjoys growing, picking and arranging flowers, climbing the magnolia trees in Duke Gardens with her daughter Clara, and hosting potlucks with friends and neighbors.

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